Friday, August 04, 2006

Send a PK to School

The following is the article written by Leah for the most recent issue of The Yellow Star, the Magruder Family Newsletter. If you would like a copy of the six-page newsletter in PDF form sent to you, please send me an email at Please note that the idea that Leah shares is very important to us and to the pastors in our Mission. We are hoping that we get a good response from churches, Sunday School classes, VBS groups, UMW units, UMM units, etc.

Kids are the same the world over. They all laugh, love to play, pick on each other and love to learn. What is not equal is how they get to learn. I don’t think Americans always remember what a blessing it is to have free education. A few pencils and notebooks and you are good to go. And when I taught in public school, I remember having a few students that couldn’t afford that and the school would provide it or I would personally.

I would like to unroll a new program we are starting in the United Methodist Church in Cameroon this month. It’s called PK Scholarship Fund. For those of you that are not “preachers’ kids”, that’s what PK stands for. Education in this country is anything but free. Every student must register, enroll, pay all books and necessary supplies and a (usually outrageously priced) uniform. If you come missing any of these items, admittance into the school is denied. The school doesn’t jump in to help pay for any books, supplies or uniforms. The teachers many times aren’t even paid on a regular basis themselves, no help there. So what happens…?

Unfortunately, the result is that many children don’t go to school. They sell goods on the street or help their parents in the fields or make trouble because they have nothing better to do. Let me break it down for you in dollars and cents. Our pastors make about $150 per month. Most have between 3-6 children they support to go to school, whether it be their own biological children, children they have acquire through the death of the children’s parents and often they have their nieces and nephews because they are “fortunate” enough to be paid a regular salary by the Mission. School costs about $300 per child per year. That, of course, doesn’t sound like much to you and me but for them, and multiplying it by 4, 5 or 6, is virtually impossible.

Here is what we propose. We would like to offer each pastor the opportunity to match funds for their children’s education. If they put in $50, we put in $50. Because people here have as much pride as anyone else in the world, matching funds is a way they can put their children through school and still contribute. We would place some requirements on receiving the money, like providing receipts for the registration and enrollment fees, requiring copies of report cards to insure continued enrollment, etc… We trust our pastors but accountability is always wise. Maybe one day, we can offer scholarships to the academic achievers going to university. That is almost unheard of in the ranks of dedicated pastors. University is too far out of reach financially for them.

Please send me your feedback. We would love nothing more than to offer the gift of education to our pastors’ children. It wouldn’t ever be taken for granted and maybe someday we will have the joy of seeing one or two of those PK’s going to seminary to follow in their mom or dad’s footsteps.

To contribute to the PK Scholarship Fund, send a check to The Advance at The Advance Office, 475 Riverside Drive, Room 1400, New York, NY 10115. Write #00344A in the Memo line, followed by the words “PK Scholarship Fund.”

School starts at the beginning of September, and we’re determined to help every one of our pastors who need help. Thank you for your prayers and concern.